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The suspect in the killing of Ke Chieh Meng had allegedly attacked a different woman several days prior

By Chris Harris
April 05, 2021 10:54 AM
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Ke Chieh Meng
Ke Chieh Meng
| Credit: Riverside Police Department

Authorities in Riverside, Calif., have made an arrest in the stabbing death of a 64-year-old woman who was attacked Saturday morning while walking her two dogs.

Police have said the killing of Ke Chieh Meng was "random," alleging in a statement that Darlene Stephanie Montoya, 23, confronted the victim in the city's La Sierra neighborhood shortly before 7:30 a.m.

Officers responding to 911 calls about the attack arrived to find Meng on the ground, bleeding from abdominal stab wounds. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she "succumbed to her injuries and [was] pronounced deceased."

According to the statement, more 911 calls started coming in from neighbors "reporting a transient woman walking through their yards and appearing suspicious."

Police found Montoya, and later, detectives determined she "was the attacker and placed her under arrest. She was later booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center for murder, weapons violation, and suspicion of being under the influence of an illegal substance."

Montoya, who remains in custody without bail, has not entered pleas to the charges.

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It was unclear if Montoya has an attorney.

Montoya had previously been arrested by police in Riverside less than a week before Saturday's fatal attack, after allegedly hitting a woman with a skateboard.

Because of the amended bail schedule put in place for the COVID-19 pandemic, she was released with a citation for assault with a deadly weapon.

Officer Ryan Railsback of the Riverside Police told CNN that police don't think the killing was a hate crime even though it occurred during a period of increased violence and racism toward Asian Americans.

"When our detectives interviewed the suspect, they didn't come across anything to suggest she attacked the victim due to her race," Railsback said.

Meng's son spoke to KNBC. "Why was it her? Was it because she is elderly and she can't fight back? Was it that she was an easy target? Was it that she was Asian?" Yi Bai wondered. "I don't really know why she was attacked."

Meng moved to Riverside 11 years ago, Bai said: "She came here to this country to give me my American Dream."

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help cover the impending funeral.

The killing remains under investigation, and anyone with any information about the murder is asked to contact Detective Dan Mercadefe at (951) 353-7103 or DMercadefe@RiversideCA.gov, or Detective Brett Stennett at (951) 353-7213 or BStennett@RiversideCA.gov.   Those wishing to remain anonymous can email rpdtips@riversideca.gov.